The best heritage villas in Goa will entice you, surprise you and leave you speechless, with its vast gardens, multiple and artfully designed rooms along with its intricately carved furniture and tasteful decor that adds a feel of the bygone yet luxurious Portuguese rule in Goa. The Braganza House, built in the 17th century, stretches along one whole side of Chandor’s village square. It is the biggest Portuguese mansion of its kind in Goa and the best example of what Goa’s scores of once-grand and glorious mansions have today become.
Granted the land by the King of Portugal, the Braganza family built this oversized house, which looks resplendent and gorgeous even when viewed from afar. For something completely different, head up to the northernmost tip of the state, not far from the backpacker haven of Arambol, for a stay at Tiracol Fort, a 17th century Portuguese fort teetering on the cliffs of the Indian Ocean. Seven rooms, each named after a day of the week, enjoy contemporary furnishings and stunning seaside vistas. After a fiery Goan curry lunch, or a sunset cocktail, served on the fort ramparts, look in on the in-fort chapel, then dip your toes in the shallows across the river at Ashwem beach.
Alternatively, if barefoot luxury is more the order of the day, arrange a stay at Elsewhere near Mandrem, a collection of three 19th century Portuguese homes (known as the Priest’s House, the Bakery and the Piggery) on a mile-or-so of privately owned beach, perfect for bobbing about undisturbed with only gulls and ghosts of Portuguese past for company. With its narrow village roads that snake through paddy fields and a village dotted with colourful Portuguese homes, Divar Island is the postcard representation of a life and time that was slower and simpler. A short ferry ride from Ribandar near Panjim takes you away from the bustle of the mainland onto this island. The tastefully kept villas on this island are luxurious yet homely. The home-cooked meals are scrumptious and include everything from fancy dishes to Indian-style traditional meals of chicken curry, dal and rotis.
Some villas even have lush gardens with a bar and a pool which are a great place to chill with a book from the living-room library. You could also rent bicycles and explore the countryside, treat yourself to a massage at the Devaaya spa nearby, or catch the sunset and glorious views of the mainland from atop the hill. Some of the heritage sites are a short drive away from the ferry point, making the best heritage villas in Goa, a great stay option for those who want to explore Old Goa.
Here are some of the best heritage villas in Goa: